Interview: J. Doyne Farmer by John Sweeney
The number of physicists and engineers who have dented their axes on market prediction is so vast that it led to the derisive term “quant.” But who are these guys, and what are they up to? We tracked down one man who made the journey, successfully, from academia to research to trading, then back. We found him holed up in New Mexico, still pushing the boundaries of speculative thought and willing to chat.
J. Doyne Farmer studied physics, receiving a bachelor of science degree from Stanford University and a doctorate from the University of California at Santa Cruz. He worked in the Theoretical Division at the Center for Nonlinear Studies at Los Alamos National Laboratories, where he was an Oppenheimer Fellow and founder of the Complex Systems Group. In 1991, together with Norman Packard, Farmer founded Prediction Co., a firm whose business is the automatic
trading of financial instruments founded on time series–based directional forecasting methods. He is currently the McKinsey Professor at the Santa Fe Institute and editor-in-chief of Quantitative Finance.
STOCK & COMMODITIES Editor John Sweeney caught up with Doyne (pronounced “Dowen”) Farmer in early June 2001.